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Mawson Institute

Welcome to the web site of the Mawson Institute at the University of South Australia. I hope that it will entice you to join us, visit us, or collaborate with us. Today’s research is, ever increasingly, dependent on stimulation and cross-fertilisation by exchanges, linkages, and multi-disciplinary interactions. I am sure that you would find it a mutually rewarding experience.

Our vision is to be a leading centre of expertise in materials science and its application to novel products. Based on strong fundamental research in selected areas of materials science, we aim to innovatively combine materials science with engineering for translation to prototype products. New technology platforms developed at the Mawson Institute are intended to underpin next generation manufacturing via integration into new products and processes. At our Institute, scientists and Engineers work in parallel on concepts and commercialisation, significantly reducing the time and steps in product development. At the same time, research by PhD students and staff provides the next generation of knowledge, ideas, and technologies.

Since its inception in 2006, the Mawson Institute has seen rapid growth and has succeeded in building a profile for quality research as well as for innovative prototype products developed in close collaboration with commercial companies. The Institute was a major contributor to the University’s research output in chemistry and physical chemistry, which was assessed in 2012 to be of the highest international quality in the Australian Government’s ERA assessment of research quality.

A strong area of research in the Mawson Institute is biomaterials interfaces - the science and technology of control of the properties of biomaterials surfaces so as to elicit predictable, desirable responses by biological media such as blood, cells, tissue, or bacteria. Several research groups at the Institute led by well-established biomaterials interfaces researchers (Short, Griesser, Voelcker, Vasilev) are engaged in various aspects of biomaterials/biology interactions, for example materials for stem cell proliferation and cell therapy, drug delivery from porous silicon, and antimicrobial coatings. These technologies are intended for integration into advanced biotechnology products and biomedical devices.

The biomaterials research is strongly supported by recent expansion in research in biology relevant to interactions between materials/biomedical devices and the human body. The addition of Professor Allison Cowin’s research group in early 2013 has brought valuable skills and expertise in wound healing biology to the Mawson Institute. Such close collaboration between materials scientists and biologists is, in my view, essential for the development of viable novel materials and devices for health technologies.

This area has strengthened further as the Mawson Institute plays a central role in the new Cooperative Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing, which has commenced operation in December 2013.

Another strong area is protective coatings for engineering applications (Murphy, Evans, Fabretto). Hard, scratch-resistant coatings are needed for protection of a range of “bulk” materials in many applications. The Mawson Institute has achieved a highly visible success story with its development of coatings and technology processes that have enabled the large-scale implementation of a manufacturing process for plastic mirrors for cars. These mirrors have enabled an Adelaide-based manufacturer to build a rapidly increasing global export market.

The Mawson Institute also has well-recognised strengths in minerals science and processing (Gerson, Smart), polymer synthesis (Clarke, Blencowe), conducting and electrochromic materials and structure/activity relationships affecting their optical and electronic properties (Evans, Fabretto), and spatial augmented reality visualisation (Thomas).

Please visit the Research web pages to read more about these research activities.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss with commercial companies their technological needs that we might be able to address in order to help achieve transformational change in manufacturing practice, or improve wellbeing and quality of life in the health care sector. Please contact us to arrange a discussion; confidentiality will be assured.

Professor Hans Griesser
Mawson Institute

May 2014

Areas of study and research

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